Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar, also known as Bahadur Shah or Bahadur Shah II was the last of the Mughal emperors in India, as well as the last ruler of the Timurid Dynasty. He was the son of Akbar Shah II from his Hindu wife Lalbai. He became the Mughal Emperor upon his father's death on September 28, 1838. Zafar was his nom de plume (takhallus) as an Urdu poet.
Emperor Bahadur Shah II presided over a Mughal empire that stretched barely beyond the modern city of Delhi. The British Empire was the dominant political and military powers in 19th-century India. Hundreds of minor kings fragmented the land. The emperor was paid some respect and allowed a pension and authority to collect some taxes, and maintain a token force in Delhi by the British, but he posed no threat to any power in India. Bahadur Shah II himself did not excel in statecraft or possess any imperial ambitions.
As the Indian rebellion of 1857 spread, Indian regiments seized Delhi. Seeking a figure that could unite all Indians, Hindu and Muslim alike, most rebelling Indian kings and the Indian regiments accepted Zafar as the Emperor of India, under whom the smaller Indian kingdoms would unite until the British were defeated. Zafar was the least threatening and least ambitious of monarchs, and the legacy of the Mughal Empire was more acceptable a uniting force to most allied kings than the domination of any other Indian kingdom.